Pucked Page 94

“Can we not talk about Alex tonight? I want to get hammered and forget him for a while,” I say as we get out of the cab.

Char squeezes my shoulder. “Whatever you want, Vi.”

We snag a table and order a pitcher of margaritas. There’s a crappy cover band playing, which makes conversation difficult. At least I don’t have to talk about Alex, even if I can’t stop thinking about him.


The overpowering scent of cheap cologne singes my nose hairs. Shitballs. It’s the flower delivery guy. “Hi, Fred.”

“You remember my name! I totally thought it was you. I haven’t seen you in a while.” He stands there with his hands shoved in his pockets, nodding. He’s an odd dude.

“Yeah. I moved recently.” I swish my drink around in my glass, hoping he won’t ask questions about why I moved.

The bobble-heading is contagious. I have the urge to look at Charlene to see if she’s bobble-heading, too.

“So, I, uh, read you and the hockey player aren’t a couple or anything . . .” He kicks the leg of my chair while he stares at the top of the table.

It’s all anyone asks me about these days. I’m sick of it and sick of missing Alex. “Nope. Looks like we were just friends even though I’ve had his dick in my mouth.”

It isn’t until Charlene chokes on her drink and Fred’s eyeballs look like they’re about to pop out and roll onto the floor that I realize how inappropriate my comment is.

“Right. Huh.” Fred nods some more and blinks like he’s creating his own personal strobe light. “So, uh, since you’re not dating him, maybe you want to go to a movie or something?”

I stare at him because what the hell else am I supposed to do? He delivered Alex’s gifts to my house for weeks. I’ve probably tipped him more than a hundred bucks. He likely thinks the tips mean I’m into him. A movie date is crossing the customer-delivery guy line. Besides, I’ll choke to death if I have to deal with his cologne for an entire evening.

I know my silence has stretched on too long when he clears his throat. “Uh . . . I . . . uh . . .”

“Look, Fred. It’s cool of you to, um . . . want to cheer me up. I’m not in any state to be going to the movies with anyone but Charlene, here.” I thumb across the table at my best friend. “She’s the only person who can reasonably deal with my emo ass. Thanks for the offer, though.”

“Oh, right. Okay.” He bobbles his head in understanding. “Well, see you around.”

I feel bad for rejecting him, but it’s for the best. Besides, he asked me out immediately after I mentioned Alex’s dick having been in my mouth. I’m sure he thinks if he takes me to a movie, I’ll blow him. If he talked to Alex, he’d know it takes much less to get that out of me. Or it did. I’m turning over a new leaf, one that no longer includes blow jobs without definite commitment.

“That guy wears a lot of cologne.” Charlene waves her hand in front of her face. “It’s too bad since he’s hot.”

“He does and he is.”

“Didn’t I tell you he had a thing for you?”

“You sure did. You could start a side business as a psychic. All you need is a crystal ball.”

One day I’ll have to start dating again, but Fred is not the guy and now is not the time. Charlene may have a point about talking to Alex if I’m going to get over him and move on. No matter how the conversation goes down, it’s bound to be painful.

On Saturday morning I realize I’ve run out of clean clothes. One of the major drawbacks to apartment living is the inconvenience of using communal laundry facilities. I cart everything into the elevator and navigate my way to the laundry room. All the machines are in use. The whole room smells like onions and detergent thanks to some burly guy in ripped sweatpants who’s eating a sub. I don’t feel like waiting or socializing, so I pack up my stuff and head to my mom’s. I’m also low on groceries, so I plan to scam a meal out of her.

I’m folding my third load of clothing, eating my second turkey and cheese sandwich, and watching hockey highlights when my mom drops down beside me. She’s holding a magazine in one hand and a martini in the other. She smacks the entertainment magazine on the table with a dramatic flourish. Alex’s scruffy, lumbersexual face is plastered on the cover. His face is everywhere these days.

“You’re coming to the game tomorrow night,” she says with finality. My mom never uses that tone, so she must mean business.

“What game?” I maintain a neutral expression. I think.

My mom knows I know what she’s talking about. The Hawks have made it to the Stanley Cup finals. I’ve watched every game up to this point, often while hugging the Waters beaver. Tomorrow the Hawks are playing what could be the title game.

“This is the first time Buck has ever been in the finals.”


“No buts, Violet. You’re coming with us. So is Charlene.” She gives me her angry mom stare. It’d be funny if the turkey sandwiches in my stomach weren’t thinking about staging a revolt.

“Fine.” I’ve dodged every home playoff game at this point. I can’t avoid Alex forever and I should be there to support Buck. This could be the silver lining on his hockey career. I gesture to the magazine. “What’s this?”

“There’s an article in there you should read. I think you’ll find it very entertaining and informative.”

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